Monday, July 17
Color Me... Evolving
I am abundant, fresh and natural (green).
I am warm, cheerful, happy and bright (yellow).
I am a mix of passionate, urgent, excited, strong (red) and sophisticated, intelligent, spiritual and dignified (purple).
Don't believe me? Just check out these pictures of my deep backyard border. Burgundy leaves and flowers that mix red and purple... yellow accents in foliage and umbels... and abundances of abundance--er, green. They all may just reveal a lot about the garden who lives within.
Stuart, a fellow (and fun) blogger from the land of Oz, inserted a list of color meanings into his recent post "Using Colour in the Garden." Color psychology says that each color carries a certain meaning or evokes specific feelings. In that case, I'm very glad that the passionate, bright, and abundant bed you see in the first picture is located underneath my bedroom window... ;)
The psychology of color has been utilized for a long time. You can thank it for your chalky-mint-green schoolroom walls that were supposed to keep you calm and help you focus on your lessons. You can see it in decorating magazines that advocate using soothing "spa" colors in the bedroom and bathroom to help turn them into retreats. I hadn't really thought much about how it translated to my garden, though, before I read Stuart's post.
On a personal note, it's interesting to see how my taste in color has evolved over the past few years, since my life has undergone great changes during that time. My husband turned into my former husband and then became a good friend. A friend turned into a date and became the person who set free "the real me" from her pale shell of an imitation. I bought a house. On my own. Without having my father walk through it first.
In my old garden... my old life, really... I focused mainly on blues (melancholy, heaviness, coolness) and greens, with a few complimentary soft oranges mixed in just because I didn't want an "all X color" garden. I shied away from reds completely.
Even if you ignore the color meanings, my gardens looked very soft. I rarely used bold foliage or flowers at all, and when I did it was almost apologetically. I hid it behind mounds of other plants or interwove it with finer-textured foliage to mitigate its impact. I would have run screaming from some of the plants I have now. Miscanthus zebrinus, with yellow stripes? Eek!
In my new garden, though, I have replaced Great Blue Lobelia with its flashier red cousin, lobelia cardinalis. I have entire stands of the bold 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth you see in pictures above. I'm growing red hot pokers, for pete's sake--you can't get much more flashy, straight and to the point than that!
It will be interesting to see how and whether my color and design choices continue to change as I get older. If and when my plans turn to starting a family, will I incorporate more soft and nurturing pinks? Only time will tell.
Until then, you can color me... evolving.